Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Well, what to say? I leave tomorrow. I'm incredibly excited, and can't wait to see all that God has in store. I'm just ready to be on the airplane, on my way to Kabale. I won't get there until Saturday morning, actually. Here is my itinerary, all in local times:

Depart- 5/20 San Francisco 8:05 AM. Arrive- 5/21 Paris 6:55 AM.
Depart- 5/22 Paris 10:50 AM. Arrive- 5/22 Nairobi 8:20 PM.
Depart- 5/22 Nairobi 10:15 PM. Arrive- 5/22 Kigali 10:40 PM.

A friend in Rwanda is picking me up at the airport, and I will spend the night in Kigali. Saturday morning, Joab is picking me up and taking me at last to Kabale. So, I have quite the journey ahead of me! I would really appreciate your prayers as I travel. For that matter, while I am there, too!
So, today consists of last minute packing/rearranging (how to get rid of those two extra pounds of baggage?), collecting letters, etc. from various people for friends in Kabale, making travel playlists, and one last visit from a very sweet boyfriend.
It has been so amazing to see the love and support you all have given me as I prepare for this. I am incredibly blessed with wonderful friends and family. Thank you so, so much! I can't wait to share the next part of this journey with you.

From here...

To here!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

In which Susanna attempts to collect her thoughts in a somewhat logical manner.

I've never been much of a journaler (as evidenced by my scanty blog updates), but on my past two trips to Uganda in 2004 and 2007 I journaled pretty regularly. My Africa journal is one of my most treasured belongings. It is quite tattered; it has been with me to England, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, and Ethiopia. But it holds so many priceless memories of people and places that I do not want to forget. I think that reading one's own words is a much more accurate form of memory keeping than photographs are. A picture may be more visually authentic, but really cannot embody the emotion that words can. A photo's memory can be whatever its owner wishes it to be, but the recollection of honest words is exactly that: honest. My most vivid memories manifest themselves in the form of eager, hurried words scrawled in airports and hotel rooms halfway around the world. I love reading through my journal; it is a chronicling of myself, in a way. How I have changed, and how I am the same. I wrote the following words in 2007, the day after I returned home from Uganda.
"I'm sitting alone at home right now. Hard to believe I am back. It could be that I am back and nothing changed except my need to take malaria pills all month, but I have been changed. For the better. It was so great to see my family at the airport. I felt a lot of things. Joy, weariness, sadness, homesickness, contentment. I have definitely left a peice of my heart there.
"People have been asking me what my favorite part of the trip was (how distanced past tense sounds!) and of course it is impossible to single out a certain thing. My favorite part was loading 24 people in a 16 passenger van. It was being given an African name. It was being scared out of my mind to share my testimony with complete strangers. Being called Joab's other daughter. Sharing pictures of my family with everybody. My favorite part was whitewater rafting on the Nile. Listening to Darius pray. Crying at the genocide memorial in Kigali. I could go on for pages.
"Though I seem to have so many, the words aren't enough, as I've said time and again. As for a conclusion, I don't really have one. A conclusion doesn't feel quite right. I just know that this was not an isolated two weeks I spent going back to Uganda that one time when I was 17. It is part of who I am now. It is the living God moving and breathing through me. It is amazing."
These words are just as true today as they were two years ago. Maybe even more so. In five days I will christen the pages of a brand new journal. I look forward to reading through it years from now, and being reminded of the ways God worked through those two months in 2009.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


...to Kabale Trinity College!
Ok, since I haven't posted in a while and don't really have any news updates, I thought I'd share a little bit more about the place I will be spending the next two months of my life. So without further ado...(cue drumroll)...a virtual tour of KTC!
So, the basics. In Uganda, as well most of Africa, a primary school education is all that is required by law. This elementary education is free, and if a student wishes to have more schooling, they must pay for it personally. Secondary school is divided into six classes: Senior 1 through S-6. The education received is roughly comparable to junior high through junior college. Students can choose to quit after S-4, around the "high school graduation" point. Students range in age from about 12 to 23. It is pretty common for students to take a year or so off because of lack of money, family obligations, etc., resulting in the wide range of ages. Most of the students live in school dorms, and are fed three meals a day. Whether schools have religious emphasis or not (most do, to varying degrees) is entirely up to the administration. For example, KTC places great importance on spiritual training, but is not really called a "Christian school." After secondary school, students can continue on to universities, and receive degrees in various fields.
And now, permit me some bragging on KTC. It was started around 15 years ago by Joab Tumwebarize who is the director (administrator). I cannot say enough about Joab! He started the school because he felt called to offer an education to kids who would otherwise not be getting one. His first students were a handful of kids either too poor to go anywhere else or delinquets who had been kicked out of other schools. There are now around 2,500 students, and it is one of the most highly regarded schools in Uganda. It is the most highly represented secondary school at the Kampala (Uganda's capitol) university. Like I said, I can't say enough about Joab. People respect him, students and peers alike. In a place where school fees are hard to come by, he makes sure that the kids who really have the desire and potential to excel receive the opportunity.
KTC is currently on two campuses; the original one is a converted cattle yard that they rent out and the second is on land owned by the school. In 2006, a new chapel was built on the school's land, and KTC is currently in the process of moving the entire school over to the new campus.

The chapel building, and students lined up to welcome visitors. Yes, a brass band is part of the welcoming fanfare.
Students at chapel. These are boys and girls; the girls shave their heads to prevent lice which can become a problem because of the cramped quarters in the dorms.
Some classrooms around the original campus.

Inside a classroom. No textbooks are used. Students take efficent notes from the lecture.
Students in line for lunch. The pavalion with the smoke coming out of it is the kitchen.

The typical meal- beans and posho (corn meal).

Inside a dorm room. Bunkbeds are three high.

Weekend entertainment.

So, that is a little bit of life at Kabale Trinity College. Come and visit some day! In other news, welcome to all of my new friends! It's lovely to have you here, and I'm looking forward to sharing the adventures to come with you all. Fourteen more days!